SBCC hosts UCSB student’s presentation on art legend

KENSEY THIERRY, Channels Staff

As the seats filled, sounds of static echoed from the microphone while a woman in a formal dress and a thick scarf prepared her hour long lecture.

Rachel Johnson, candidate at UCSB for a doctorate in art history, spoke to City College students about how to thoroughly investigate paintings. The lecture was held on at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 17 in the Physical Science Building Room 101.

Johnson’s main focus for this event was the landscape portraits of Pieter Bruegel, a northern painter, and how those depicted the city of Antwerp, Belgium. Professor Joy Kunz introduced Johnson, explaining that she has been giving lectures in Santa Barbara and around the world as well.

“It is always a tricky thing to say what artists were trying to say over 500 years ago,” said Rachel Johnson. “It usually takes a lot more interpretation to understand it.”

Many students who attended the lecture did so based off of recommendations from their art professors or their previous interest in Bruegel.

“A year ago, I had a class with Joy Kunz and we learned about Pieter Bruegel and I thought he was fascinating,” said studio art major Jerry McFerron.

Johnson discussed the beauty of recognizing scenery, while investigating and interpreting the smallest details of an artist’s work.

“We don’t usually spend too much time thinking about how we recognize them,” said Johnson.

Johnson distinguished and analyzed the composition of “The Harvesters” painting, which leads viewers to its foreground. She pointed out a castle that appears in many of Bruegel’s other paintings, while providing further historical information about the city of Antwerp during the 1500’s.

Johnson wasn’t initially interested in landscape paintings until she lived in Antwerp for a brief period of time and was able to see the physical landscapes of Bruegel’s paintings in person.

“That was when I really got interested in this, because I got to walk around the city and the suburbs,” said Johnson. “I basically started making personal connections the same way, I am trying to imagine, the original painters would have related to these paintings as well.”